I don't ask much of my bottle cages, only that they let me get my bottle in and out without any fuss; and that they hold on securely to the bottle whilst I ride. Provided it's not actually fashioned from a ship's anchor, the weight is not a primary concern. The Vel T5 SL Cage passes the test.
Given this is all these accessories need to do, it's surprising how many fail. You may have a bottle cage that saves you 20g, but that's not going to get you to the finish line any quicker, especially if you see your bottle bouncing down the tarmac as soon as you hit the first pothole.
If you are the kind of rider for whom the weight of your bottle cage means the difference between success and failure, well good luck at this year's Giro. Otherwise, you could leave out two sips of water from your bottle and save the same weight.
The Vel is stamped and formed from polished aluminium and I would imagine it would look best on a raw titanium or aluminium frame, or perhaps on your old school steel singlespeed (what do you mean, you haven't got an old school steel singlespeed? Get outta here...). It also comes in black.
The look is unusual, not altogether my taste, but performance was good. I used it in conjunction with a number of different shapes of bottles and rattled over some rough tracks and trails and it held on firmly to my precious fluids.
The grip is not so firm, however, that you struggle to get your bottle out when you need it, nor was it difficult to locate when putting the bottle back while keeping eyes forward.
I'm not sure why Vel was so anxious to produce a bottle cage 'without the use of carbon', especially as there are thousands already out there, but it's done what it set out to do. If you like the looks, then go for it.
A simple, secure bottle cage that will find some fans and won't offend the weight-conscious
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vel T5 SL Alloy Cage
Size tested: Polished
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Vel says: "The T5 SL cage is VEL's lightweight alloy open style bottle cage weighing only 28g.
"This cage is the product of our desire to create a lightweight cage without the use of carbon. Produced from T5 tempered 6061 aluminium, this cage has low weight and high strength characteristics. The T5 is light enough for a race use and durable enough to last."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polished silver finish with laser etched VEL logos
One piece construction.
Includes 2 mounting bolts.
Also available in black.
Includes shallow mounting bolts
Designed to fit all bikes with a standard seat or down tube mounting.
It seems well made and is very simple.
It gripped a range of bottles firmly and it was easy to get drinks in and out.
One-piece construction should make this well-nigh indestructible.
At 28g it's not the lightest bottle cage, but within a few grams of most carbon offerings (35g including the bolts).
About mid-range for a cage, why pay more?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Secure and easy to use, that's all I really need in a bottle cage. The design means it should fit into most frames with room to get your bottle in and out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Holds on firmly to your bottle. Easy to remove and re-sit your bottle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It looks like someone's school metalwork project.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your score
It works fine, it's reasonably light, not hugely expensive and the looks, though not to my taste, may appeal to some.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking